Logistics careers

Organisations need to minimise costs, and one way of doing this is through their logistics team. Logistics professionals are found working across a variety of sectors and can work within a number of stages of the logistics process, from inbound logistics (sourcing, transportation and storage of incoming materials) to outbound (storage of finished products and distribution). Travel and transport is a huge area within logistics too.

Professional sectors within logistics include supply chain, transport planning, rail, active travel and travel planning, bus and coach, ports and maritime waterways, freight forwarding and aviation.

There are many graduate schemes within logistics across a whole variety of sectors, so opportunities are broad. Qualification wise, employers would expect a good undergraduate degree, and might encourage you to work towards a CILT qualification (ranging from level 1 to 6). With the qualification and experience behind you, you can look forward to a long career with good progression opportunities.

Market conditions

The logistics market conditions are largely affected by the level of manufacturing in the retail and consumer goods industry. Analysing consumer demand and spending can help to indicate the growth of and manpower required in the logistics sector. Reduced demand during the economic downturn has had a negative effect on the shipping industry, whilst fluctuating oil prices and changes in environmental policies continue to influence other forms of transportation, essential in the supply chain process. 

However, there is currently optimism within the sector as consumer spending is increasing, influencing manufacturing demand and the need for logistics professionals. At present the UK is experiencing a slow recovery, keeping forecasts for the logistics employment market fairly positive. The outlook for this important sector will improve even further with successful emerging markets (BRICs) and even further still once the Eurozone crisis eases.

Job roles

Before targeting specific job roles it would be advisable for you to consider the sector in which you would like to work. There are many benefits to being more sector targeted; your job search will be more specific so more effective and you will begin to learn more about your preferred sector, allowing you to learn about what is going on in your sector (commercial awareness). The roles and responsibilities for a job with the same title will differ from organisation to organisation and sector to sector, but the following gives an overview of the types of responsibilities you might have.

Logistics or distribution manager

The manager role will involve coordinating a number of staff, whilst ensuring the smooth running and economic efficiency of the company’s logistics. The logistics manager will look after the strategy of the incoming, outgoing, storage, transportation and sourcing of materials and products. Within this role you will ensure processes are optimised, to ensure minimal monetary loses; this includes processes within the company and also with any third parties used. The manager will be required to have good communication skills to work with colleagues, outside contractors and customers.

Logistics administrator

Supports the manager with the inbound and outbound logistics of a company. They would have to manage materials and ensure that those incoming are booked into the warehouse, checking the quality as they go. They may have to manage invoices, ensure times are kept to and deal with delivery notes. They would be expected to use computer programmes to keep track of these duties. At the other end of the process they would have to manage all outgoing products too.

Useful links

Routes in

Logistics are essential across many sectors, so you would be advised to begin your job search by considering the sector in which you wish to work. This will help you to reduce your search area, allowing you to become more focused and enabling you to gain commercial awareness for your sector. As well as entering the profession through entry level advertised positions, there are also a number of graduate schemes available.

Internships

Specifically in logistics there are few internships, although you will more in supply chain and procurement. Consider other avenues for gaining work experience in logistics, such as writing a speculative application to a small or mid size organisation to see if you can work for them over the summer, for a couple of weeks or even one day a week during term time.

Graduate training schemes

There are many graduate training schemes in logistics, including within transport organisations, FMCGs, retailers and publishers. Look on the careers pages of any larger organisations you are interested in to find details of any graduate schemes they offer.

For more graduate schemes see Inside Careers, Prospects and employers’ websites. Visit our resource centre to pick up copies of the Times top 100 graduate employers, The Guardian UK 300 and TARGETjobs which list employers with graduate vacancies.

You can also search LSE CareerHub for graduate jobs and find organisations who are coming on to campus to recruit LSE graduates.

Advertised positions

You do not have to be a graduate to enter the logistics market, so there are many positions advertised as and when businesses need the staff. Many graduate entry-level positions will be advertised on an ad-hoc basis too. Visit the following specialist logistics websites for vacancies:

Recruitment agencies

Before approaching a recruitment agency, please read our advice on how to get the most from the interaction. See recruitment agencies: the basics.

Resources

Links to external sites

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